TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The Arizona women’s basketball team snapped a four-game losing streak with a 61-52 win over Washington State at McKale Center tonight. With the win, the Wildcats improve to 5-6 overall and 1-1 in Pacific-10 play.
Arizona shot just 36 percent from the field, 24 percent from three-point range and 61 percent from the free throw line on the game, and was out-rebounded 44 to 30. The difference in the game was ball control, as the Wildcats forced Washington State into 35 turnovers while committing just 15.
“The turning point in the game was when we went to the zone defense,” Head Coach Joan Bonvicini explained. “It allowed us to get steals and create opportunities for easy lay-ups. It really opened up the game.”
“We got frustrated early because we couldn’t get shots to go down,” she continued. “I think when Joy hit those threes, she really helped the team get going. She’s had really good practices and that’s made a difference.”
Junior Joy Hollingsworth led Arizona with 18 points, followed by sophomore Ashley Whisonant with 17. Senior Natalie Jones added 12. Freshman Malia O'Neal, making her first start, nabbed six steals, while sophomore Ch?© Oh pulled down a team-best eight rebounds.
The game started off slow before Washington State took a five-point (11-6) lead. Arizona then went on an 8-0 run to go up 14-11. The Cougars answered with a 7-0 run, but the Wildcats then outscored WSU 8-3 to close out the half and go into the locker room at halftime up by one, 22-21.
Neither team shot particularly well on the half. Arizona connected on just 26 percent from the field, 30 percent from downtown and 25 percent from the free throw line, while Washington State made 38, 17 and 50 percent, respectively. The Cougars out-rebounded the Wildcats 26 to 19, but Arizona forced 18 WSU turnovers, while committing seven.
Hollingsworth paced the Wildcats with 10 points, while Oh pulled down six boards on the half.
The second half was played closely, with neither team leading by more than four points until Arizona used a 9-0 run that included eight points by Whisonant, to take a 53-45 lead and put the game away for good. Whisonant led the Wildcats with 13 points on the half.
Arizona closes out 2005 with a 4 p.m. game against Washington (9-3, 2-1) this Saturday, Dec. 31. The game will be broadcast live on FSN Northwest and on tape-delay at 10 p.m. on FSN Arizona.